Thinking about taking a European road trip? Driving is one of the best ways to see Europe. Instead of dealing with baggage restrictions and airport check-ins, you’ll be stress-free and blissful in your hire car. Driving through Europe also gives you a huge amount of freedom, since you’ll be able to stop in that quaint French town to try the cheese, or skip the tourists at the popular sites.
Before choosing a hire company, it’s important to do your research. While many of the big companies like Hertz have offices in Europe, it can often be cheaper to rent locally. Check if you can pick up the car in one place, and drop it in another to prevent back-tracking, and see if they offer chains if you’ll be driving in winter.
There are a few things to remember when driving through Europe, especially if you’re not from the region. Keep in mind that in many countries you’ll be driving on the opposite side of the road. You’ll quickly get used to this, but may find yourself hitting the windshield wipers instead of the indicator, and driving at night may be trickier as your instincts tell you to drive on the other side when it’s dark and you’re tired.
You may also find that your perception is off. Your blind spot will be on the opposite side, so parking (especially parallel parking) may be more difficult than usual. Many European streets are also very narrow, and it can be easy to side swipe parked cars if you’re not paying attention.
There’s also the matter of breaking down. What happens if you have a breakdown, and you don’t speak the language, or have any idea where you are? That’s why you need Breakdown cover from the AA. These guys will keep you covered, so you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
It’s definitely a good idea to have travel insurance. Check if they cover you for car hire, and how much your excess will be. If they don’t, you’ll need to take the insurance that the hire company offer when they hire you the car. It’s definitely worth taking insurance, and will probably prevent many fights with your significant other, as you’ll both know you’re covered in case of a crash, or in case someone breaks into the car.
Never leave your valuables in the car, and if you absolutely must leave bags, make sure they’re hidden out of sight in the trunk. Hire cars will often be targeted by thieves.
Don’t let these warnings prevent you from taking a road trip through Europe though! Hiring a car and stopping off at tiny little European towns, driving through the countryside, taking photos of rolling hills and cobbled streets, Europe was made for road trips. By doing your research and ticking all the boxes, you’ll be sure to have an amazing time, and a relaxing, fun holiday.